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Thread: [EB2 Hayastan AAR] The Aura of the Orontids (EB 2.35)

  1. #1

    Default [EB2 Hayastan AAR] The Aura of the Orontids (EB 2.35)

    This AAR will be done in both a written (more "creative") and video (more descriptive) format. Enjoy! It's my first AAR in a number of years (11/12??) so excuse the rustiness.



    Chapter 1: King Yervand's New Groove

    The ancient landscape was much different from our own. In our modern efforts to build and expand, we destroy and break apart. For the ancients, they saw history in front of them every day. When Cyrus II marched into Babylon, something that caught his eye was a large royal inscription of Ashurbanipal, king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire who had reigned a century before him. King Nabonidus of Babylon, during temple renovations, discovered ancient inscriptions of Ur-Nammu, who had reigned well over a thousand years before him.


    Hayastan was no different. Looking down upon the glorious Yervanduni capital, Armavir, was the formerly great Urartian fortress – Argishtikhinili. The current capital, Armavir, had been constructed over the ruins of the Urartian settlement...

    King Yervand III gazed upon the hilltop where the remains of the Urartian fortress lay abandoned and destroyed by enemies long forgotten.

    Khaldian fools. Now they serve us, the Yervanduni. We are truly of noble stock – descendents of Darius I Achaemenid,” Yervand said to himself, “Who was Argishti? Truly, nobody will remember him. I’m glad my ancestors told Herodotus nothing about those barbaric Khaldians.”

    Yervand thought of his ancestors. Yervand, the founder of our house, bless his memory. The great Tigran Yervanduni, friend of Cyrus. The loyal and strong satraps. Yervand II, who fought bravely and effectively against the invading Macedonians.

    “Father, am I disturbing you?” said ShamushYervanduni, the crown prince.

    “No, my son. I was just thinking about our ancestors, and about how much better we are than those Khaldian kings from long ago,” said Yervand haughtily.”

    “Father, the Seleucid basileos wants his tribute early this year, or he will attack with his armies,” said Shamush, almost completely ignoring his father’s statement.

    “Son, I know that you don’t like this arrangement, but it’s the best thing for our people, for you. Surely you know that we are in no position to challenge the Seleucid Empire right now,” Yervand tersely replied.

    “Father, aren’t you tired of this? We are of noble stock. Our ancestors were great friends of the greatest king who ever lived, Cyrus II. Our people are strong. Don’t forget that it was our army that was successful during the disastrous battles against Alexandros. Even the Khaldians, look at the empire they were able to create to rival the great Semiramis of Assyria...”

    “Enough of this!” Yervand roared.

    “No, father, enough of your attitude! You know full well that the Macedonians treat us like second-rate has-been kings. Our infrastructure crumbles. Our roads are nonexistent. Tribalism rules and there is little order outside the walls of Armavir...”

    “But what about our new summer capital in Tsopk/Sophene, Shamshat/Samosata? I even named it after you...” interrupted Yervand weakly.

    “I don’t want a city named after me, father. I want our house to have its dignity back. Our country, Hayastan – it needs order. It needs a strong king to keep the tribes and upstart princes in line!” Shamush said optimistically. He had never been able to stand up to his father like this, but he felt he had no choice. “You know that if we don’t do something quickly, there may be an uprising. There are rumors that the Seleucids are looking to turn us into another mere satrapy of theirs...”

    “A satrapy of Macedonian fools! NEVER!” the king bellowed.

    “What do you want to do then, father?” Shamush inquired.

    “Son, I am sorry for my tone. You are right. I am almost an old man, and I have few accomplishments to my name. The tribes run rampant and few pay their taxes. Our country is rich in resources, but impious nobles enrich themselves. If this keeps up, we will simply be another page in those Greek history books. We cannot continue to look to the past for glory and wisdom. We have to do these things ourselves – we have to be strong. The Seleucids pillage our kingdom for their own benefit... We will oblige them for now, but I have a plan to challenge these enemies of justice...” Yervand trailed off.

    “What is your plan father?” Shamush wondered aloud.

    “My son, I have to take the royal army and go. You must stay and protect the capital. Those pesky Kartvelians to the north have always looked upon our capital with jealousy, wanting to expand their pitiful domain. You must not let them take it. I will go to Caucasian Albania, to Aghvank/Aluank. The tribes there are weak and we will be able to subdue them and take the main settlement there, Kabalaka. The Seleucids have no arrangement with them, so no one shall oppose us there. Following that, we will crush the remaining nobles of the region and return to Armavir, where we will plan our next move.”

    “Father, I am so glad you have your groove back.”

    “Me too, son, me too...” Yervand said, smiling.

    The Armenian king looked out over the village of Kabalaka. It was the only real settlement in the area and it had a charm to it. What was not so charming was the large army that had gathered in the town to defend it. Yervand knew that there were rumors of another Albanian army on the way, and that the Armenian king must be swift in his assault. It had been awhile since he had fought in such an engagement.

    “Horse archers! Move to the right side of town. You must distract them and take out as many of them as you can with your arrows. The enemy does not have any cavalry, so there is no threat to you. Khaldians! Charge right into the center of town in formation and distract their melee troops in the front while I charge them from behind. Colchian infantry and Cappadocian spearmen – charge from the left and right,” Yervand ordered.

    “Milord, but this attack pattern will expose the Khaldians to severe casualties! They won't last that long against the Georgian heavy infantry!” said the royal attendant.

    “I may not like the Khaldians, but with their pikes they are perfect for street combat. Don’t worry, attendant!” said Yervand.

    The battle was fierce and bloody. King Yervand had been right – the Khaldians admirably held their ground against a thousand troops that were better equipped. The enemy lost hundreds of soldiers to the Khaldian attack on the main street of town, while the Khaldian unit only lost a few dozen. King Yervand’s cataphract’s charge in the rear eliminated the enemy javelin units that had been pelted from behind by arrows from the Armenian horse archers, and the Colchian infantry charge from the left flank had been especially devastating. Kabalaka’s defenses completely collapsed.

    “I’m sorry I doubted you sir,” said the attendant.

    “I’m sorry too.” replied Yervand.

    Yervand was overjoyed by the success of the assault, but he knew that this was just the first step on the road to increasing his royal power. The Albanians surely had an army lying in wait to catch the Armenians off-guard, and rumor had it the Georgians had a large raiding party somewhere to the north of Armenia.

    “Attendant! Order my Cappadocian medium and javelin cavalry to return to Armavir quickly so that we can consolidate our forces quickly.”

    However, the king had made a miscalculation.

    “Milord, horrible news from Armavir. The Cappadocians made it back to the capital, but they have taken a good number of casualties and are badly bloodied. Forces of the Kingdom of Kartli are to blame – they were lying in wait in the forest,” said the attendent gloomily.

    Yervand sat silently. He had been elated just a few days earlier. He thought of the casualties, the unnecessary casualties caused by his folly. He was trying to show that Yervanduni Armenia was the strongest kingdom in the region, that only he could unite the small kingdoms in the area and challenge the Seleucids, freeing his people from Macedonian tyranny... But how could he do that, when he could not even order a detachment back to his capital without them getting ambushed? On top of all of this, the Albanian forces were approaching, threatening Kabalaka and the garrison within.

    “Call my son! Tonight, we ride together against Kartli!”

    The evening battle with Kartli was wet and muddy. The enemy was hiding deep in the forest, forcing Yervand to draw them out with the Armenian cavalry. Though the Georgians had a unit of very strong Iranian-style half-cataphracts, they were no match for the Armenian king who charged down the hill at them. The rout was especially brutal, and Kartli’s raiding party was no more.

    “Father, I am glad we rode together tonight,” said Shamush, who took down several warriors himself during the melee.

    “Son, I am so proud of you. You will be a good shepherd of our people. You always think about them, about protecting them from the extortion of tyrants. We must fight, we must keep fighting,” said Yervand.

    The Caucasian Albanians had gathered outside Kabalaka, but they were unaware that the town had been left unattended while the Armenian king had gone to deal with the Kartli forces. This gave Yervand ample time to charge at them with the whole army while they were dumbstruck at the whole situation. The casualties were many, and the Caucasian Albanian forces melted away...

    The king returned to the capital in order for the army to lick its wounds and prepare for the next campaign. This was just the first step on the road to restoring royal authority over Armenia. The time of petty noblemen squabbling over power and money was going to end, but the king needed more successes to truly centralize his kingdom.

    King Yervand III peered out over the walls of Armavir and looked upon the fortress of Argishtikhinili.

    “Your descendants, the Khaldians, I must admit they fight well, Argishti. They will always fight for this land, for the king of this land. I will show you that I too can challenge the imperial menace to the south, I too can be a great king like no Yervanduni has ever been!”
    Last edited by Alwyn; August 07, 2020 at 07:54 AM. Reason: Fixing link to video so that it works as intended
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  2. #2
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: [EB2 Hayastan AAR] The Aura of the Orontids (EB 2.35)

    Great start! I like the opportunity to get perspectives from both the video and the text. The tension between father and son could lead to some interesting drama. The opening shows us well the challenges with father and son face from rival cities nearby, while in the distance the Seleucids make demands and utter threats.

    In the video, I like the way that you explain your strategy and your knowledge of how Armenia's rivals are likely to act. You set the scene well and provide useful tips for playing this faction with the EB2 mod, such as the need to keep an army in Armavir, the strengths and shortcomings of Armenia's early campaign units and the benefits of the first reforms for Armenia.

    (I took the liberty of editing out some extra BB code in your video link which was preventing the video from displaying, I hope that's okay).

  3. #3

    Default Re: [EB2 Hayastan AAR] The Aura of the Orontids (EB 2.35)

    Thanks for the edit, Alwyn - I knew I had copy-pasted something wrong and didn't have the chance to fix it!

    Also thanks for the comments - I'll definitely keep this one going. The videos are going to be more descriptive in order to help new players get acquainted with what to do in the early game so I'm glad you enjoyed that part. Still trying to get my creative writing chops back - I'll be trying to work in screenshots next time.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: [EB2 Hayastan AAR] The Aura of the Orontids (EB 2.35)

    Hi everyone, sorry for the delays in getting the second episode out! Had lots of work and side projects to get done... But here is part 2!



    In this episode, the king dies in a stupid way, a Khaldian pikeman fights a whole army for 20 minutes, a new king is crowned, and 2 provinces are captured. (I'll have the written part up soon)
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  5. #5
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: [EB2 Hayastan AAR] The Aura of the Orontids (EB 2.35)

    I like the way that you explain your strategy (it makes sense to move quickly to take the wealthy provinces on (or near) the Black Sea coast, while your great general remains in service) as well as the tactics you plan to use in battle and your expectations about the enemy. It looks like your pikemen and spears do well in cities (as I'd expect), but your cavalry struggle at times to get where they need to be. To some extent, this is understandable - cavalry work best on open plains - although I can see how it's annoying when, as you said, the cavalry are 'stickier' than they should be. The cavalry charge at about 10:35 is a good moment!

    I wonder if it would be worth making the videos shorter. This might make it easier for viewers to keep up and would make it easier to post them more often. At least, when I write text AARs, I find it easier to build up a readership with short updates posted weekly. Of course, it's your call, there's nothing wrong with longer videos if that's what you prefer.

    You mention that town battles don't give you many opportunities for tactics, I see what you mean. I wonder if it's different with other factions (maybe if they rely more on sword or axe infantry and less on cavalry they can do more in towns?), or if that's the case for all of them.

  6. #6

    Default Re: [EB2 Hayastan AAR] The Aura of the Orontids (EB 2.35)

    Hi Alwyn, thanks for the advice! I've just been super busy with work and several projects the past few weeks... But you are correct, I think shorter updates are the way to go. I think I may also switch to doing more cut down videos and summarizing things more succinctly, since, especially in a slow-paced mod like EB, there's a lot of downtime where you are just maneuvering or building/preparing. Will try to feature some of these changes in the next update.
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  7. #7
    TurkafinwŰ's Avatar The Sick Baby Jester
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    Default Re: [EB2 Hayastan AAR] The Aura of the Orontids (EB 2.35)

    Interesting start to the narrative. A clear goal is set and the characters are introduced in a good fashion, not too many details but just enough so we can paint a picture of them. The videos are a great help for those who know very little of EB or the time period in general (and even for people who know a lot).

  8. #8

    Default Re: [EB2 Hayastan AAR] The Aura of the Orontids (EB 2.35)

    Episode 3 is up! Sorry for the comparatively poor audio quality, had some technical issues.

    In this episode, we don't get the reforms we want due to a surprise attack on our western border, but not before the Black Sea coast comes under our control... Also, does a surprise await in Atropatene?



    Sorry I haven't had time to do write ups alongside these yet, things have been hectic... All in due time.
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  9. #9
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: [EB2 Hayastan AAR] The Aura of the Orontids (EB 2.35)

    Captain Sis Ak's decision looks like a surprise, and adds an extra dimension to the unfolding events. As you said, it sounds like that's a way to increase the challenge for players, by making the use of captains risky. Your plan in relation to Colchis and Media Atropatene sounds like a good one. As you said, your spy's discovery about the situation of the Seleucids in the south is unfortunate for Hayastan. Good update!

  10. #10

    Default Re: [EB2 Hayastan AAR] The Aura of the Orontids (EB 2.35)

    Thanks for the continued support Alwyn, I appreciate it.

    Here is episode 4 (sorry again for the mediocre audio - it is fixed in the next ep. I had actually recorded eps 3 and 4 with the wrong microphone enabled...). After several trials and tribulations, including a surprise Parthian attack and the most annoying battle in history in the fog that had Carrhae potential, the first tier of the reforms have been completed!

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  11. #11

    Default Re: [EB2 Hayastan AAR] The Aura of the Orontids (EB 2.35)

    Audio is back to normal in episode 5! In this episode, Pontus sues for peace, the Nabataean threat grows, and we invade Cappadocia.

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  12. #12
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    Default Re: [EB2 Hayastan AAR] The Aura of the Orontids (EB 2.35)

    Your growing kingdom does look nice! It looks like your strategy of aiming for the reforms was very effective. Those satrapy buildings with their bonuses and extra local units sound useful. I can relate to the dilemma you had when you took the Pontic capital. It's attractive to hold a valuable city but it can be difficult to keep when you're fighting rebels and enemy armies too - even so, I can see why you were tempted to re-take Amaseia if the royal army on the border got a good opportunity. Expansion without needing to declare war on the Seleucids, and acquiring a Mediterranean port, sounds like a good plan.

  13. #13

    Default Re: [EB2 Hayastan AAR] The Aura of the Orontids (EB 2.35)

    In this episode, we have another battle against a Cappadocian army and finally declare war on the Nabataeans. We also focus a lot of upgrading our settlements and finally get Armavir, our capital, to grow its population beyond 6000 households. Will the armies of Hayastan be able to defeat the Nabataean forces? Many thanks to FroyoFozo for the thumbnail! I know that my own 2d skills are close to nonexistent...

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  14. #14

    Default Re: [EB2 Hayastan AAR] The Aura of the Orontids (EB 2.35)

    At the most critical moment, the our burgeoning kingdom loses most of its military due to a combination of over-cautiousness, overwhelming enemy forces, and treason! Europa Barbarorum 2 sure is full of surprises, and the Hayastan campaign is not quite so easy due to the treacherous geography...

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  15. #15

    Default Re: [EB2 Hayastan AAR] The Aura of the Orontids (EB 2.35)

    In this episode, we rebuild our depleted army and go after the Nabataeans and the traitors in Syria. Will the new army be able to crush our formidable foes? Also, the king of Hayastan, Arsham Yervanduni, focuses on building up the economy of the kingdom through market and mine construction, and decides to use his resources to recruit a powerful royal army with the finest cavalry from several different lands... Cappadocian, Greek, Median, "generic Iranian" cavalry... hopefully this diverse army will be enough to take down the Nabataeans and our new foe.

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  16. #16
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: [EB2 Hayastan AAR] The Aura of the Orontids (EB 2.35)

    It's good to hear that you found a solution to the CTD problem. In episode 6, it looks like your spies are providing useful information about the wider world. It looks like the reforms feature of the mod is a really good one. I like playing smaller factions in Total War games too - like you, I enjoy the challenge of expanding while avoiding the attention of the major powers until you're ready.

  17. #17

    Default Re: [EB2 Hayastan AAR] The Aura of the Orontids (EB 2.35)

    Thanks Alwyn! Yes the reforms are some of the best aspects of EB and EB2 - makes every faction's campaign feel unique (well... some reforms are more interesting than others). Yes, I definitely prefer starting as a small faction haha

    In this episode, we consolidate our gains in Cilicia and Syria. Additionally, the royal army under King Arsham goes to work against its first opponent - the invading Pontic army. Will King Arsham be able to lead his newly trained forces to glory?


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  18. #18

    Default Re: [EB2 Hayastan AAR] The Aura of the Orontids (EB 2.35)



    In this episode of the Hayastan campaign in Europa Barbarorum 2, the sieges against Pontus continue and we fight a huge battle against three rebel armies near Antioch. Will we be able to hold Syria?
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: [EB2 Hayastan AAR] The Aura of the Orontids (EB 2.35)

    It's a nice detail that you explain the significance of the names of some of the characters. The campaign seems to be going pretty well, despite the naval blockade by Pontus and the rebels at Antioch.

  20. #20

    Default Re: [EB2 Hayastan AAR] The Aura of the Orontids (EB 2.35)

    Thank you! Yes indeed, the campaign is going quite well despite the public order issues - my neighbors are mainly distracted with other problems.

    In this episode of the Europa Barbarorum 2 Hayastan let's play, we fight the last armies of Pontus and consolidate our gains, turning us essentially into an imperial kingdom. The inevitable war with the Seleucids is nigh...

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